July 26, 2016 at 6:55 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Sanders supporters protest DNC, Clinton in Philadelphia

Two Bernie Sanders supporters march down Broad Street in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Two Bernie Sanders supporters march down Broad Street in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PHILADELPHIA — Supporters of Bernie Sanders were among the thousands of people who protested in Philadelphia on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Zack Spielman of Media, Pa., was holding a Sanders sign as he stood inside the passageway that leads from Philadelphia City Hall’s courtyard to Broad Street before the March for Our Lives march began. Another protester was holding a large caricature of the Vermont senator, while others had Sanders masks and other campaign items.

Spielman told the Washington Blade before he and other protesters began marching towards the Wells Fargo Center in which the Democratic National Convention is taking place that he may vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, in November.

“I want to vote with my conscience,” said Spielman.

Many of the protesters chanted, “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary” as they marched the nearly four miles between Philadelphia City Hall and the site of the Democratic National Convention. Stein and Cornel West, a prominent civil rights activist who also participated in the protester, spoke at a post-march rally that took place in a park adjacent to the Wells Fargo Center.

Democratic National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade

Protesters hold a caricature of Bernie Sanders inside Philadelphia City Hall’s courtyard on July 25, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Suzanne Simmons of Houston marched with a homemade sign that read, “I’m sticking with Bernie.”

“He represents us, the people,” she told the Blade while standing outside Philadelphia City Hall. “Hillary has proven with her track record that she’s dishonest, she’s a war hawk.”

“If she were to get the nomination it would just continue to enable her to do what she has done in the past and will continue to do in the future and nothing will change,” added Simmons. “We have to turn the system upside down.”

Sanders supporter describes Clinton as ‘fraud’

Sanders on July 12 formally endorsed Clinton during a rally in New Hampshire. He reiterated this support on Monday during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“Hillary Clinton must become president of the United States,” said Sanders.

These comments come a day after U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) announced her resignation as chair of the Democratic National Committee in response to a series of leaked emails that appeared to show party officials favoring Clinton’s campaign over his.

The Atlantic reported that some of Sanders’ delegates booed him loudly when he told them to support Clinton during a meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Vermont senator’s supporters also booed Clinton’s name when it was mentioned during the Democratic National Convention.

“The election was stolen from him,” said Anthony Uhrich of King of Prussia, Pa., as he marched from Philadelphia City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center. “It was rigged and it’s not fair. I’m here supporting Bernie and protesting the DNC.”

Sara Wiedmaier of Albuquerque, N.M., told the Blade as she sat outside the Wells Fargo Center that she was “torn” about whether she would vote for Clinton in November.

“We’re not judging Hillary based on her competence or her ability to be a politician,” said Wiedmaier. “We’re questioning the fact that she is not representative of the people and Democrats are supposed to be the party of the people.”

Allie Steineckert of Portland, Ore., who identified herself as “queer,” was wearing a white tank top with Sanders’ last name written on it in rainbow colors as she stood outside the Wells Fargo Center. She told the Blade that she remains adamant in her support of Clinton’s one-time rival.

“I want to support the man that supports me and supports the things that I care about,” said Steineckert.

She described Donald Trump as a “chauvinist” and Clinton as a “fraud” who “doesn’t care about the LGBT community” and women’s health issues. Steineckert also criticized U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as Clinton’s running mate because he is a “pro-life man that is also very bigoted.”

Kaine, a Catholic who speaks Spanish, has voted in favor of abortion rights despite his personal opposition to them. The former Virginia governor has been largely supportive of LGBT-specific issues in the U.S. Senate.

“I flew across the country,” Steineckert told the Blade. “I want to support what I believe in. I want to support my community and I want to represent my community and I want rights for us.”

Democratic National Convention, gay news, Washington Blade

Allie Steineckert of Portland, Ore., stands outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

Comments are closed
© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.